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Clerics Join Fight Against Crude Waragi in Karamoja :: Uganda Radionetwork

Clerics Join Fight Against Crude Waragi in Karamoja

Joseph Abura, the Bishop of the Anglican Karamoja Diocese attributes the high rates of domestic violence and crimes to overdrinking. He says that many parents have abandoned their families and resorted to drinking.
Police and the nearby community pouring crude waragi at Moroto CPS

Audio 4

Catholics and Anglican church leaders have thrown their weight behind the campaign against the sale and consumption of crude waragi in Karamoja sub-region.

On May 16th, 2022, police teamed up with other security agencies to enhance operations against the sale and consumption of crude alcohol, saying it is partly to blame for the increasing cases of insecurity. Now, church leaders have also joined the campaign to educate their flock against alcoholism.

Guzetti Damiana, the Bishop of Moroto catholic diocese, says that they have started an anti-alcohol campaign targeting communities in, which waragi is turned into food, saying it has fueled insecurity and violence in families. According to Damiana, this is a serious war the church is starting against alcohol abusers. 

He says that besides preaching against the vice in the church, they have also opted to send their teams to the villages to meet households and speak to them about the dangers of alcohol. ‘’This is a serious matter that needs a collective response. As a church, we want to try our best to sensitize and warn the communities about the impact of alcohol abuse and its effects on their physical well-being,’’ he said.

He has pledged his total support to create awareness and urges the police to intensify their operations because as a church they don't have the mandate to arrest people trading and consuming waragi.

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Joseph Abura, the Bishop of the Anglican Karamoja Diocese attributes the high rates of domestic violence and crimes to overdrinking. He says that many parents have abandoned their families and resorted to drinking.

Abura noted that fighting against illicit waragi has taken so long but it still continues to penetrate into the region, adding that there’s a need to change the approach to avert the vice. He noted that although they are stepping in as a church, the government should also play a role to regulate the crude waragi from its source for quick results. 

He wondered why the government cannot block it from its source rather than leaving it to be transported all the way up to Karamoja so they can take action.

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URN has also learned that Police have for long engaged in a battle against the smuggling of crude waragi from Jinja, Mbale, Soroti, and Lira districts into the Karamoja region. Francis Chemusto, the Mt. Moroto regional police commander, says that they have been trying their best to stop waragi from entering the region but their effort is often frustrated by the Boda boda riders who help the traders to dodge their checkpoints as they use village routes.

Chemusto noted that they have learned about this development, and launched operations against the transportation of crude waragi on motorcycles, which have given them good results. He revealed this while pouring over 1107 Jerricans of crude waragi worth Shillings 200 million at Moroto CPS on Thursday evening.

He said that the waragi was impounded from different parts of the region and most of it was being transported on motorcycles. "The public now knows the dangers of this crude waragi. They are contributing a lot to the fight against the sale and consumption of these dangerous substances,’’ Chemusto said.

He said the illicit alcohol has become a driving factor for insecurity in the sub-region, saying that most of the rustlers arrested in the operations are caught with bottles of waragi.

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Andrew Napaja, the former Moroto District LC V chairperson, says that he’s happy that all the religious leaders have joined the fight against alcohol abuse. He said the intervention of church leaders in this struggle may yield fruits because people trust messages from the church. 

‘’Let the church leaders take a lead on this fight because they are trusted in whatever they will tell in church, there is weight in their messages,’’ Napaja said. Napaja urged police to always make sure that when they are pouring waragi, it should be disposed of in the public so that they know their trade is useless.

In a related development, Dr. John Bosco Nsubuga, the medical superintendent of Matany hospital, says that there are still grappling with the number of patients with liver disorders resulting from overconsumption of alcohol. Dr. Nsubuga says their statistics show that the number of patients admitted because of alcohol abuse has increased by 30% with many associated with liver diseases.

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According to the data from the ministry of health, the Figures show that the number of patients reporting to regional referral health institutions with liver disorders has increased from 4109 in 2017 to 6103 in 2018.